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Rep.-Elect Mark Green: A new antivaccine crank goes to Congress

Here we go again. Meet Rep-Elect Mark Green. He’s following in the footsteps of Reps. Dan Burton and Bill Posey in bringing the antivaccine crazy to Congress, only this time for the people of Tennessee.

So the blogging’s been slow because I’ve been spending a couple of hours or more a night hanging out with the puppies we’re fostering. Sadly (for us, anyway) the puppies will be going back to the rescue on Sunday to be adopted, but that means they’ll be going up for adoption, and I suspect that these puppies won’t have long to wait for great forever homes. It’ll also mean that, beginning next week, blogging should get back to normal again, at least for a week or so. After all, soon it will be Christmas, and I’ll probably take a few days off between Christmas and New Year, both because I traditionally do that and because readership usually plummets that week anyway, given that people tend to have better things to do than to read my brain droppings, be the Insolent or not-so-Insolent. In the meantime, there was a story a couple of days ago that, as those of you who also saw it might have guessed, I just can’t resist. I’m referring to Representative-elect Mark Green of Tennessee.

Remember how I’ve been saying that, even though antivaccine views exist with roughly the same prevalence on the left and the right, the Republican party has become the antivaccine party? Let’s just say that Mark Green isn’t going to change that impression, as a story from Wednesday demonstrates:

A soon-to-be congressman from Tennessee told constituents Tuesday he believed vaccines may be causing autism, questioning data from the Centers for Disease Control and other institutions disproving such a theory.

Not only did Republican Mark Green, a Congressman-elect from Clarksville who is also a medical doctor, express hesitation about the CDC’s stance on vaccines, he also said he believed the federal health agency has “fraudulently managed” the data.

His remarks came in response to an audience question at a town hall meeting in Franklin from a woman identifying herself as the parent of a young adult with autism. The woman was concerned about possible cuts to Medicaid funding.

Me being me, I can’t help but call out the reporter for how this is written. It is not a “theory” that vaccines cause autism. Seeing the word “theory” used that way always provokes an extreme negative reaction, as when creationists dismiss evolution as “just a theory.” One more time, the word “theory” in science is used to denote a set of statements very well supported by evidence and with a high degree of useful, predictive power. It doesn’t mean a “half-assed guess,” which is what the claim that vaccines cause autism is at best, even giving antivaxers every benefit of the doubt. Hell, the idea that vaccines cause autism isn’t even worthy of the term “hypothesis” any more—unless, of course, you add the word “disproven,” “failed,” or “rejected” in front of it.

Of course, if you want to identify an antivaxer, here’s a great way to do it. An antivaxer is someone who takes a question about cuts in Medicaid funding from a woman of a child with autism concerned about what that might mean for her child and magically makes it about vaccines. More than that, he not only makes it about vaccines but goes full conspiracy theory about the CDC. It doesn’t get much more antivaccine than that, other than the fringe of the fringe of the antivaccine movement whose members proudly declare themselves to be antivaccine rather than denying it, as most antivaxers do.

I had never heard of Dr. Mark Green before, and, no, this Dr. Mark Green is no Dr. Mark Greene, if you know what I mean, even though they are both emergency medicine doctors. (Yes, Representative-elect Mark Green is an ER doc, a fact whose relevance will become clear in a moment.) In this case, the fictional Mark Greene far surpasses the actual Mark Green in being science-based, even though the fictional Mark Greene died of a brain tumor. Before we get to the relevance (or lack thereof) of his being an ER doc, though, let’s take a look at more of what Rep.-Elect Mark Green said:

Quoth Green:

“Let me say this about autism,” Green said. “I have committed to people in my community, up in Montgomery County, to stand on the CDC’s desk and get the real data on vaccines. Because there is some concern that the rise in autism is the result of the preservatives that are in our vaccines.

“As a physician, I can make that argument and I can look at it academically and make the argument against the CDC, if they really want to engage me on it,” Green said.

At the town hall, Green emphasized that he would make it a priority to “stand against” what he believes may be the CDC withholding information on vaccine research.

“But it appears some of that data has been, honestly, maybe fraudulently managed,” Green said. “So we’ve got to go up there and stand against that and make sure we get that fixed, that issue addressed.”

At this point, I wasn’t sure which conspiracy theory Green was invoking. Was it the “CDC whistleblowerconspiracy theory at the heart of failed physician and scientific fraud Andrew Wakefield’s propaganda film disguised as a “documentary,” VAXXED, in which CDC scientist William Thompson claimed that the CDC had data showing an significantly increased risk of autism in African-American males associated with the MMR vaccine and that it had destroyed data? Or was it the generic conspiracy theory that the CDC “knew” that vaccines cause autism but has “covered up” data showing that, what I like to refer to as the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement?

Particularly amusing is Green’s invocation of his being a “physician” as qualification to “look at it academically” (presumably the evidence showing how safe and effective vaccines are). Here’s a hint. Although medical students and residents do learn how to evaluate the medical literature, Green is 54 years old. It’s been decades since he’s been in medical school or residency. Has he been evaluating scientific literature since then much? Evaluating the scientific literature is a skill like many others in that if you don’t use it you lose it. Looking at Green’s career, after he finished residency he served for a number of years as a flight surgeon. However, it’s clear to me that in recent years he’s been far more about running his hospital emergency department management staffing company and his foundation, which operates free clinics and sends medical teams to underserved countries. It’s not clear to me how much actual patient care he’s been doing in recent years, as he seems to be more of a business executive these days than a physician. In any event, even if he does still see patients, he’s an emergency medicine physician. He has little or nothing to do with the daily discussions pediatricians and family practice doctors have with parents regarding routine childhood vaccinations. The most he probably dealt with was suggesting the flu vaccine in the future for patients coming in with flu-like illnesses or for patients with dirty wounds to get a tetanus booster.

Then there’s the issue of knowledge. Even if you do know how to evaluate the medical and scientific literature, if you are not highly knowledgeable about a particular area you will struggle to make sense of the literature. There’s nothing in Green’s background to make me think that he has even the slightest expertise in immunology, vaccines, or neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. Probably he hasn’t even considered the basic science since medical school and the clinical aspects since residency—and then only those aspects that might be relevant to the emergency department care of patients with those issues. Basically, here Dr. Green is “playing the doctor card,” as though being a physician makes you magically able to pontificate with authority about anything in medicine and biomedical science. It doesn’t, but unfortunately the general public seems to think that it does, which is why we have so many idiot doctors spouting nonsense in the media. In reality, there are many systems in place to monitor vaccine safety, and none of them have detected an association with autism.

Hilariously, it didn’t take long for Green to realize that perhaps he’d let his antivaccine freak flag fly a bit too high, as later that day there was a story in The Washington Post, Rep.-elect Mark Green walks back claim that vaccines cause autism, except, of course, that he didn’t. Not really:

“Recent comments I made at a town hall regarding vaccines has been misconstrued. I want to reiterate my wife and I vaccinated our children, and we believe, and advise others they should have their children vaccinated,” Green said in a statement to CNN on Wednesday.

So far…OK. But Green just couldn’t resist. He just couldn’t:

But, in separate comments Wednesday to The Tennessean, Green appeared to reiterate his previous comments, but adding that vaccines are “essential to good population health.”

“There appears to be some evidence that as vaccine numbers increase, rates of autism increase,” Green told The Tennessean. “We need better research, and we need it fast. We also need complete transparency of any data. Vaccines are essential to good population health. But that does not mean we should not look closely at the correlation for any causation.”

And as Internet usage has increased, so, too, has autism prevalence. As cell phone use has increased, so, too, has autism prevalence. As organic food sales have increased, so, too, has autism prevalence. Heck, as the number of Starbucks franchises has increased, so, too, has autism prevalence. Correlation does not necessarily equal causation. It certainly can, but usually it doesn’t.

I also note that Dr. Green is playing the “I vaccinated my children” card that antivaxers like to play a lot. First of all, I note that one of the most famous and rabid antivaxers of all, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. vaccinated all of his children and yet still risibly proclaims himself “fiercely pro-vaccine.” Of course, RFK Jr. didn’t become antivaccine until his children were all older; indeed, whenever you see someone defend himself against the charge of being antivaccine by saying he vaccinated all of his children, it’ll almost always be someone who’s middle aged or older and whose children are teenagers or adults. The appropriate question to such people is: If you were to have another child, would you vaccinate the child according to the CDC schedule?

Of course, Green did say that he would advise others to have their children vaccinated; so there’s that. However, such statements don’t necessarily absolve him of the charge of being antivaccine. He could well be what I like to call “antivaccine lite,” the sort of parent who doesn’t think vaccines are not useful but who is very prone to a Robert Sears-like suggestion to “spread out the vaccines.”

I used to have a shtick that I did from time to time in which I’d blog about a doctor promoting pseudoscience and, in the course of the discussion, make jokes about wearing a paper bag over my head, covering my face with a Doctor Doom mask, or hanging my head in shame at my profession. Spouting antivaccine dog whistles is enough for me to have thought about invoking that old routine over Dr. Green, but then I learned something else. Surprise! Surprise! Dr. Green is a creationist, too. No, really:

Green rejects the conclusions of scientists in his lecture. In his 2015 speech to a church to Cincinnati titled ‘Isn’t Evolution A Solution?, Green dedicated nearly an hour to explaining why his work as a medical doctor taught him to reject the theory.

Green claims that the theory of evolution violates physical law, using the example of a lawn mower left out in a backyard.

“The evolutionists have their bad argument, too,” Green said. They say, ‘Well, I can’t explain how it went from this to incredibly complex, so it must have been billions of years.’ That’s kind of where they put their faith. The truth of the matter is is the second law of thermo fluid dynamics says that the world progresses from order to disorder not disorder to order.

“If you put a lawn mower out in your yard and a hundred years come back, it’s rusted and falling apart. You can’t put parts out there and a hundred years later it’s gonna come back together. That is a violation of a law of thermodynamics. A physical law that exists in the universe.”

The stupid, it burns. That’s a creationist trope so old that I remember it appearing on Usenet back in the day. (Look it up, kids.) It used to be known as the “747” or “junkyard tornado” trope, sometimes called Hoyle’s fallacy, after the creationist who thought it up. It’s complete and utter nonsense based on a massive misunderstanding of the second law of thermodynamics. Let’s just say that Dr. Green’s understanding of vaccine science is likely no better than his understanding of basic biology or the second law of thermodynamics.

Unfortunately, the US House of Representatives has had a fairly long line of antivaccine cranks. I first remember Rep. Dan Burton (now retired), and more recently Rep. Bill Posey. It looks as though Congress is about to get another crank.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

109 replies on “Rep.-Elect Mark Green: A new antivaccine crank goes to Congress”

I’m also troubled that he didn’t take seriously the constituent’s question and didn’t provide her any helpful response, as you point out.

It teaches me he cares more about waging a war against vaccines that prevent diseases than helping people.

No, he’s just another Republican. The question about Medicaid cuts put him on the spot, since he’s absolutely against “government handouts”, and since the questioner mentioned the cuts in the context of her ASD child, he just reached into the wing-nut grab-bag to pull out something, anything, that let him change the subject and avoid talking about the health-care cuts he no doubt supports. But it still says a lot that anti-vax is right there on top of his bag of excuses…

Reminds me of an old joke modified for today’s post:

Q: How will you know if Rep-elect Dr. Mark Green is an anti-vaxxer?

A: Don’t worry, he’ll tell you.

Oh good grief!

second law of thermo fluid dynamics says that the world progresses from order to disorder not disorder to order.

This is a man who has no idea what he’s talking about. It is the Second Law of Thermodynamics! Talk about fingers across a chalkboard for me. This is like a person saying “nuclear” as “New-kew-lar.” Thermodynamics and fluid mechanics are completely different! Never mind that, as a creationist, he clearly has no idea what the Second law actually says… (most readers around here probably already know this, but “entropy” is not directly equal to “order”.)

Second law of Dr. Green’s Derpo Dynamics sounds better….my long dormant inner physicist also cringes at Green’s thermodynamic thrashings.

“playing the doctor card,” as though being a physician makes you magically able to pontificate with authority about anything in medicine and biomedical science. It doesn’t, but unfortunately the general public seems to think that it does, which is why we have so many idiot doctors spouting nonsense in the media.

Pot, meet kettle.

Yes. Being a doctor may make you more likely to know what you’re saying, but is not automatic guarantee of that, as Dr. Green showed.
In contrast, Orac’s post are careful, knowledgeable, and well referenced.

Yes, I’m aware your side is permitted to be hypocritical as well as not practice what they preach. Tell us more…..

modus operandi character assassination if that’s all you know. Would love to see the antivaccine-oncology specialist actually respond to questions. Your act is transparent doc.

David Ball, it seems to me the only hypocrite here is you – unless,of course, you can demonstrate that you have sufficient vaccine expertise to do what you are attempting to do here, which is to claim that, what is being said on this blog about what the vaccine experts say about vaccines, is wrong.

That would be great David, if you would actually bother to ask a real question. Snark is not a question.

An explanation for David Ball:
Being a doctor doesn’t make you right, but it doesn’t make wrong either. What makes you right is actually unrelated to your profession at all. It is careful research, acquiring a broad knowledge of the topic in question in combination with logic thinking and further research.

Are you saying the docs google degree is good here? Seems many places they aren’t accepted anymore so I just assumed his degree was not either. Should have known better.

Of course I wasn’t talking about the Google degree! Research and broad knowledge of the topic are gained through reading peer-reviewed studies and the relevant scientific literature.

This is illogical. It doesn’t follow that, because one particular doctor has been shown to be vaccine illiterate, all doctors are vaccine illiterate. And a doctor talking about vaccines isn’t necessarily putting himself forth as a vaccine expert, he may just be passing on what vaccine experts say about vaccines and why they say it.

The difference between what Dr. Green is saying, and what Orac is saying is that Orac’s claims are backed by decades of research and scientific inquiry, and Dr. Green’s are not. Also, Orac does not make fundamental errors in discussing the principles of another field (physics).

Hence, Orac knows what he is talking about and Dr. Green does not.

There is nothing wrong with using your expertise as a foundation for discussing important matters of public health. You just have to make sure you do it correctly.

if you ant see the difference between Orac’s thoughtful deconstruction of this pillocks nonsense (including references where relevant to support his argument), and the pillocks nonsense i am not sure that your opinion of any really merit

How DO these people ever get through Biology 101? Do they just wear earplugs, take the test, and then take an amnesia pill?

I always thought they took a hefty brain bleach, but an amnesia pill would render the same result.

Somehow,my statement got altered in the time it took to cross from my brain to the internet. I it was supposed to be “a hefty dose”.

As far as I can tell, when a doctor enters politics he automatically forgets everything he learned about science. Or maybe that’s just a requirement for the Republican ones.

right-wing, anti-vaccine, crank, freak, creationist

just maybe had you been able to place one more derogatory label on Mr. Green I would not have gone out to see what Mr. Green had to say. Now thanks to your lousy blogging skills, I’m a Mark Green fan. Thanks Orac.

I doubt that. It’s more likely that you already reject vaccination and have discovered Dr Green as a fellow traveller.

Exactly. Any time someone tells me that he’d have considered what I had to say if I weren’t so very, very mean and sarcastic, I know he’s full of shit and that nothing I say would change his mind. I know that, even if I had bent over backwards to be polite, nice, and respectful, he’d still find a reason to discount or reject my arguments.

No, don’t change your style. We love when its completely see-through for most reasonable people. Keep up the good work Orac.

You are welcome to that right-wing,anti-vaccine, crank,freak, creationist Mark Green, you right-wing, anti-vaccine, crank, freak, creationist. 😉
In other words….you’re not fooling anyone here.

an argument does not hold or fail on the politeness of the arguers, your beloved grandmother, who never said boo to a goose, is still talking shit when it comes to existence of god. Tone trolling is just another tactic used by people who don’t have a point.

Another troll tried the same game here recently: “Thanks to your crappy blog, I’m now a fan of (whatever stupid nonsense).” Would that be you? Keep it up, a lot of us here find it mildly amusing, and useful for easy verbal target practice. Really, please keep doing it, and be sure to use a different name each time. OK?

Dr. Green is a creationist, too.

The church resolved this over a millenium ago. The “seven days” story of creation is regarded as an allegory, not as literal truth. Creationism is a reliable sign that someone isn’t quite sound upstairs, as far as I’m concerned.

What church? Even most mainstream Christian denominations still have Biblical inerrancy and literalism as official tenets, however much some of their adherants and clergy may take things more allegorically in practice. And certainly the fundamentalist, “evangelical”, mega-church crowd is quite wedded to creationism. They even have a high-tech Creation Museum near Cincinnati with dioramas showing humans co-existing with dinosaurs and other scientific laughers. [}. Actually, according to Wikipedia there are no less than 14 other, smaller creationist museums in the U.S. as well.

The Church, sadmar. Even before the schism.

Granted, you will find some Catholics and Orthodox Christians buying into young earth or literalism, mostly due to influence from fundamentalists I’m the modern era.

Mainstream Lutheranism, etc,, they don’t hold to a literal seven days at all. Pentecostals and other movements that mostly arose in the 19th century often do, though, so you’re not entirely wrong. Strict biblical literalism as a thing didn’t even exist until the 19th century.

On the Patheos blog, mentioned in the last post, I found this one:

While serving as a State Senator in Tennessee Green rejected billions in federal medicaid expansion funds because he believed the funding would lead people away from Jesus.

How does that one work? People should trust Jesus, instead of going to the doctor? Wouldn’t that put him without his job as an ER doc?

Well, that’s a quick way to get moved to the “cruel, inhumane” column. “Committed to my community” my eye.

How does that one work? People should trust Jesus, instead of going to the doctor?


Dr Green was quoted in a 2017 article as having basically opined that medical care prevents conversion to Christianity.

According to the Washington Examiner, Green told the group how sickness was a way to bring people to Christianity:

The person who’s in need… they look to the government for the answer, not God, and I think in that way government has done an injustice that’s even bigger than just the creation of an entitlement welfare state. In this story, I think it interrupts the opportunity for people to come to a saving knowledge of who God is…

I see our sort of government-based assistance taking God out of the picture. If you look at the Gospels and you go and study the Gospels, every person who came to Christ came to Christ with a physical need. It was either hunger or a disease.

[,,,]Green insisted that physical failings are a key element of people coming to Christianity: “People go to God because of a physical need and they walk away with a spiritual need met.”

As a state senator, Green co-sponsored a “Patient Choice” bill related to proton therapy, meant to override the governor’s veto. In the press coverage of the bill, Dr Green’s status as a physician and cancer survivor was prominent.

One wonders, one does. Not only how he may’ve approached his own cancer treatment (ironically, given the Mark Greene ref), but just how well his now-defunct Foundation may’ve delivered medical care internationally to underserved communities.

Aside: his license profile shows an journal article published during residency in 2001, titled “Placebo use in EM residency” (in J Emerg Med, although it’s not indexed). As a state senator, he also sponsored a pilot program for Medicaid beneficiaries, where flat dollar amounts would be deposited to EBT cards for medical use, to “encourage responsible use and comparison shopping” for medical needs. Cringe So he doesn’t like poor people any more than heathens, and may or may not conflate prayer with placebo. Ugh. TN deserves better.

Oh lord, “comparison shopping”? That sounds like a great way to discourage people from preventative care, or getting care before their condition is severe. Wasn’t there just a study about how people under 35 are more likely to put off medical care because of costs?

Also, isn’t it almost impossible to comparison shop medical care because of the total inconsistency of billing and insurance?

Also, isn’t it almost impossible to comparison shop medical care because of the total inconsistency of billing and insurance?

Not to mention that a lot of Medicaid recipients live in rural areas or parts of cities where there isn’t a lot of choice about where to go; hard to do comparison shopping there. (Also finding providers who take Medicaid.)

And even if you had choices in providers, they don’t publish their prices.

It is nigh impossible, and definitely impractical to comparison shop medical costs.

What a stupid idea.

Re. antivaxer, Green “‘encourage responsible use and comparison shopping’ for medical needs.”


“Honey, I think I’m having a heart attack!”

“Oh dear, Dear, you know what that means…”

“Yeah. Quick – go shopping! Hurry!”

That’ll get people to “come home to God” alright. When they drop dead.

Someone needs to encourage Green to donate his brain to medicine after he “goes home to God” (the sooner the better, send him recipes for irresistible fatty sugary foods). Some day neuroscientists will find what causes that kind of behavior, and develop a treatment.

Orac writes,

Hell, the idea that vaccines cause autism isn’t even worthy of the term “hypothesis” any more—unless, of course, you add the word “disproven,” “failed,” or “rejected” in front of it.

MJD says,

Hell, disproved hypothesis, failed hypothesis, and rejected hypothesis are all concepts that play into people’s fear and ignorance. You know very well that the life or death of medical hypotheses resides in the validity of the null hypothesis.

Let me make the correction:

Hell, the idea that vaccines cause autism isn’t even worthy of the term “hypothesis” anymore -unless, of course, you add the word “disproved,” “failed,” or “rejected” in front of “null hypothesis.”

@ Narad,

Please advise.

You do realize that pedantry gets on our Lord of Blinking Lights and Perspex nerves, don’t you? It’s likely to get you in some form of moderation, at best.

/troll-feeding mode off

@ sirhcton,

It is with great sadness that I inform you that MJD has been in auto-moderation for a record amount of time. Furthermore, although Orac is a brilliant writer, an infrequent and well-intended correction is meant to bring clarity to the subject matter.

/education-feed mode on

It is with great sadness that I inform you that MJD has been in auto-moderation for a record amount of time.

Thank you for adding the phrase “zombie stuck pig” to my vjocabulary.

Sure. Why the fuck are you blabbering about “the null hypothesis” when you clearly have no clue about the meaning of the term? This is just complete gibberish.

I’m not Narad but…

Michael, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t attempt – or even think- about correcting Orac because:
– it’s his blog
– he studied medicine and other life sciences
– he hates picayune bullshit
– he is a much better writer than you are
– in fact, he understands the subjects you have a degree in better than you do
– his patience may seem limitless but is most likely not
correcting smart people will not make you appear any brighter than you are
IN FACT, it will precisely illustrate your own deficiencies

If I saw an abandoned lawn mower I would fix it up and use it.
Not really, but why is it that creationist never think of that? Dead things do not evolve.

Or, just put a cover over the lawn mower so it doesn’t fall apart to begin with….sounds like something us pro-vax people would do without needing a lot of thought.

Lawnmowers also do not replicate themselves (thankfully). They are therefore unable to mutate and evolve. Leafblowers are bad enough to listen to, but I think the sound of two lawnmowers copulating would drive me to mechicide.

It was interesting to touch in with you folks who claim to know and care about health. You know very little about real health. You seem to think it comes out of the end of a needle. think about that. It is a very Preposterous idea. How did humanity survive and grow to such numbers, unprecedented numbers before there were Needles and Vaccines? Because, HEALTH DOES NOT COME FROM NEEDLES AND VACCINES. It comes from a well balanced diet of Healthy foods in combination to other good lifestyle habits. NOT NEEDLES AND DRUGS. I hope some of you can come around to see this truth… It is NOT Rocket Science, it is Common Sense. Something that seems to get lost when Profits and Selfish Egos come in to play.

Good nutrition and healthy lifestyle is certainly part of maintaining health, and I doubt anyone here would deny it.

So are vaccines that prevent disease. Not getting disease is also part of maintaining health.
As to how people survived before vaccines, many did not. Smallpox alone killed hundreds of millions in the 20th century.

The fact that less than 100,000 people died worldwide from measles for the first time on record a couple years ago had everything to do with needles. And the fact that the number rose over 100,000 last year had a lot to do with the fact that that fewer people were getting the MMR vaccination. A lot of things contribute to making people healthier and helping them live longer lives, but I found no evidence in your comment on what they are or how well they work.

Rocket Science is based on lots of tests and evidence, not unsupported claims. And common sense may be obvious but that doesn’t tell you whether it is right or wrong.

Go to the nearest cemetery. Look for graves from the19th and early 20th century. Look for age at death. Compare to graves from the late 20th and 21st century.
Yes healthy lifestyle and good nutrition are a great help but they can’t overcome diseases and traumas which needles and vaccines have now made survivable.

It took 123 years (1804-1927) for the earth’s population to go from 1 billion to 2 billion. It took half that time (1960-2012) to go from 3 billion to 7 billion. All this while the actual growth rate has declined from 2.1% to 1.2%. Better living conditions helped, but you can’t discount the role of medicine, including vaccines, in allowing more people to live to reproductive age.

“How did humanity survive and grow to such numbers, unprecedented numbers before there were Needles and Vaccines?”

Because they had lots of babies. Often very few got to grow up. You have obviously never done any reading of the biographies of people who lived a couple of centuries ago, or even during the 20th century. The author of the original Frankenstein book had one child grow to adulthood, how many did she actually give birth to? Who did Roald Dahl dedicate his book The BFG to, and why?

“Because, HEALTH DOES NOT COME FROM NEEDLES AND VACCINES. It comes from a well balanced diet of Healthy foods in combination to other good lifestyle habits.”

Please post the PubMed indexed articles of what kind of diet would have prevented my son’s neonatal seizures and his obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Please, I would love to know what magic food would have prevented the abnormal heart muscle growth that was threatening to block his aortic valve (hence the open heart surgery).

Though one thing that might cure your “ALL CAPS” syndrome would be some adult basic learning classes in writing.

So people with Type I diabetes (autoimmune disorder) should just die, rather than get insulin injections?

Aren’t you a bundle of joy and compassion.

Thomas Milcarek is a clear victim of Dr. Green’s “second law of thermo fluid dynamics” in that he has progressed from order to complete disorder all in a few sentences.

Well said, Dorit.

Teaching people about healthy lifestyles is a huge part of what I do as a nurse.

But if healthy lifestyles could avoid all disease, we wouldn’t need nurses or doctors. There’s a reason why life expectancy went up over the past 150 years: modern medicine. Which includes vaccines, among other things.

” How did humanity survive and grow to such numbers, unprecedented numbers before there were Needles and Vaccines? ”

Like my great-grandparents, they had sixteen kids and prayed that a few of them made it to adulthood.

And sometimes three wives like my great grandfather. The second one died when my grandfather was just a baby and the third one raised him.

I can eat a perfectly tailored diet and the healthiest lifestyle imaginable, but if I’m ever stung by a wasp again, I will have an anaphylactic reaction which very well may kill me. Or is there some nutrient or lifestyle activity I am unaware of? If I get stung, should I immediately eat an acai bowl? Quinoa and kale? Spirulina?
Sometimes, life itself “comes out of the end of a needle” specifically an Epi-Pen.

I’ve asked this of antivaxxers before, and none of them ever have had a coherent reply. I don’t think you can answer this one either.
What healthy diet and lifestyle changes contributed to the elimination of rinderpest?

I love the ‘profits and selfish egos’ comment. Thomas, I challenge you to find an anti medicine, pro ‘healthy living solves everything’ proponent who doesn’t have a financial stake involved.

Don’t you just hate it when alpha releases of software are released unannounced onto the internet? The designers rely on the public to discover and report bugs, all while having to tolerate defective functionality, false output and a totally impenetrable user interface. Most of these never even make it to beta release, let alone general availability. This can be even worse with free software since there may be little commercial incentive to get it right the first time. In this light I will avoid the alpha and instead eagerly await the release of David Ball 2.0. It can’t arrive soon enough.

“As a physician, I can make that argument and I can look at it academically and make the argument against the CDC, if they really want to engage me on it,” Green said.”

There are no medical (or vaccine, for that matter) publications listed in PubMed attributable to Mark E Green MD. Maybe he has a different definition of what physicians consider academic work to be though in the universities I’ve attended and worked for it is straightforward: conducting and publishing medical research.

Representative Green may want to be careful what he’s asking for. As some good friends of Orac have previously noted (, challenging the CDC to an academic exercise regarding antivaccine tropes, including vaccines/autism, appears to have stumped Del Bigtree (one of the smartest guys in the antivaccine room). According to publicly available sources, poor old Del still hasn’t been able to academically counter Dr Wharton’s responses as the months pass. What makes Representative Green think he’s smarter than Del?


It’s probably impossible in this ugly climate, but the head of the CDC should invite him over for a one on one about vaccines. And statistics. Tape it and release it to the public.

Actually, antivaccine people crave discussions/debates/documentaries (Del Bigtree’s initial request to CDC was to “discuss”). That way they can avoid trivial things like scientific references and focus on the important things such as conspiracy theories. Even in a one-on-one made public Rep Green would claim selective editing by CDC after he makes a fool of himself.

You got me envisioning an SNL skit though; how about a satire of a future Presidential debate with Rep Green explaining his views about vaccines, creationism, Muslims, LBGT folks and other issues he seems more than willing to comment about, juxtaposed by a common sense-oriented female candidate…

Antivaxers crave discussion/debate because they are science denialists. The reason antivaxers, creationists, HIV/AIDS denialists crave these things is because discussion/debate gives the impression to the general public that their beliefs have sufficient validity to be worthy of engagement by scientists.

True, and coincidently today’s excellent example of someone seeking to be worthy of engagement is this from David Ball: “Would love to see the antivaccine-oncology specialist actually respond to questions.” Notwithstanding that he seems confused (Orac is nothing if not pro-vaccine) and can always go to some other blog since he doesn’t like what he finds here, how do you put up with such antivaccine/science denying people over what is a remarkably long time blogging (as a hobby no less)?

“You know that, if you had a bent tube, one arm of which was of the size of a pipe-stem, and the other big enough to hold the ocean, water would stand at the same height in one as in the other. Controversy equalizes fools and wise men in the same way. And the fools know it” Oliver Wendell Holmes

To continue what Orac said:
alties use public or internet debates and “documentaries” to convince the general- mostly scientifically naïve- public through theatrics, emotionalism and rampant Gish gallops because they cannot argue by presenting peer reviewed data in journals as SBM does.
They know that most of the public will not go through the trouble to check whatever they present as evidence. One of the idiots I survey claims that whatever he writes is peer reviewed and vetted for accuracy ( by lawyers!) and adds loads of references: most of which have little to do with the subject or reality. This is how we wind up with “data” that says medical care is one of the leading causes of death ( Death By Medicine), that vaccines cause autism or that psychiatric meds cause mental illness.

Ah, the “any unsuccessful treatment is medical error” paper that went on to claim medical error was the third leading cause of death?

So if the husband of the woman who helps my dad housekeeping dies, it will be either medical error, or dead by medicine?
He has cancer in an advanced stage and is in the hospital, which he probably won’t leave, because he doesn’t eat (probably because he isn’t able to) and needs medical care.
And my mother died in the hospital, because she had a brain-hemorrage, which landed her in a coma and led to her dead.
Both people would also die, or have died, when they wouldn’t have been in the hospital.

Some people seem to have strange ideas about dead by medicine, if they consider everyone who dies in a hospital as have been the victim of medical error.

Yep. Basically, those studies come up with such huge numbers because of how cases are ascertained and how pretty much every death associated with a complication is treated as a “medical error.”

Denice! Now you tell me!

If I’d have known it was that easy to have data peer reviewed I’d have made full professor by my thirties…

@ Moose:

If I followed the same guidelines, I’d also have “over 70 best-selling books and many, many award winning documentary films” but my mother ruined that for me because she taught me that you have to label make believe stuff as fiction or stories.
But who are we? We went and got those non-mail order degrees where you have to go to classes, take exams, do training, write….

“He could well be what I like to call “antivaccine lite,” the sort of parent who doesn’t think vaccines are not useful but who is very prone to a Robert Sears-like suggestion to “spread out the vaccines.””

Any time you get antivaxers who argue how full of Toxinz vaccines are and what dread diseases they’re allegedly linked to, but who also claim to support a limited/slowed-down vaccine schedule, you know they’re full of it. What parents who buy into their warnings are going to consent to any vaccines for their children?

It’s just a sleazy ploy to position themselves as occupying a mythical “middle ground”.

Well, well, well.

After drawing a link between vaccines and autism earlier this week during a town hall with constituents, incoming Republican congressman Mark Green of Tennessee partially walked back those comments Wednesday following an uproar over the scientifically inaccurate statements.
“Recent comments I made at a town hall regarding vaccines have been misconstrued,” Green said in a statement obtained by HuffPost. “I want to reiterate my wife and I vaccinated our children, and we believe, and advise others they should have their children vaccinated.”

“Misconstrued”. Suuuuurrrrrre.

Thanks for keeping us up to data on people like Green; it’s a good reminder for me to make my end-of-year donation to Every Child By Two ( Would it be helpful to make the donations in the name of the antivax parody accounts who have been commenting here lately (“David Ball” and “Thomas Milcarek”)? Both of them gave me some much-needed laughs. Whoever created them should get a bonus for promoting vaccine uptake with their relentless mockery of antivaccine talking points.

Mildly OT, but the radio show On the Media focused its attention on public health this week, including “messaging,” preparedness, and vaccines on the [url=]2018 December 14 episodel[/url] (I can’t find rhe direct link with just this tablet).

This monologue from Dara O’Briain is largely on topic (and when you hear it all you’ll fall in love with him like I have.):

His takes on homeopathy, nutritionists, and “balanced” coverage are perfect.

@ Renate:

They fail to mention that if the person had not sought out care they would be long gone.
Similarly, if a person dies after receiving chemotherapy, they’ll say he or she died of chemotherapy even though without it, the person would have succumbed months or years ago from cancer.
There is a great deal of magical thinking – actually advertising – that alties broadcast to the general public that feeds off of wishful thinking and avoidance of reality.

Recently I have been especially disgusted by PRN’s detailed descriptions of incredible transformations ( he never says “cures”) of people with serious illnesses who attend health retreats sponsored by the chief woo-meister ( there are also recorded testimonials by attendees) at his estates in Texas and Florida:
for example, a man with gangrene “reverses” the condition with diet, exercise, “counselling* and energy work: by the end of 2 weeks, he is race-walking around the track. Another with stage 4 cancer, by the end of his stay, walked about 30 miles ( someone actually reported about this himself) , a woman’s MS is reversed, etc. Supposedly, many doctors attend as well and can’t believe how it works: they take notes and try the method on their own patients. A new cookbook is titled ” Curing the Incurable” or suchlike. I know that Stephen Barrett is interested in first hand accounts of these miracle retreats.

How do you “reverse” gangrene? It is by its nature dead tissue, believe me I’ve seen it. Another potential Nobel prize for medicine.

Right. I’m sure that there have been cases where a person had a very small amount of gangrenous tissue that was excised or special types of “dry gangrene” ( as Orac wrote) BUT this was described as the man leaving a hospital to avoid amputation of his leg and flying down to the retreat and the condition being reversed. I include these stories because someone, somehow must know how to do something about this charlatanry.

Retreats are used as a way to raise money for a non profit station, WBAI; as I understand it, the woo-meister receives a cut of 40%. In addition, it primes marks for other products and services. When fundraising time comes, he plays recordings of participants’ testimonials and describes other results. There are frequent stories like this and other accounts of his counsels that mislead the public. He claims doctors come to his resort to learn from him. I believe that anyone who would buy into this system of myths is in need of counselling- but not by him.

NIH/FDA immunologists failed to the challenge vaccine autism connection

To be a physicist, one must understand basics such as Newton’s laws, Bernoulli’s principle, the Theory of relativity etc.

Dr. Richet made a similarly fundamental Nobel Prize winning medical discovery, a hundred years ago. Injecting alien proteins into humans or animals causes the development of allergy to that protein.

This discovery is taught in medical schools today.

pg. 157:

In our broken medical system, most physicians FAIL to understand this fundamental medical concept yet they are allowed to practice medicine. These unqualified physicians therefore ignorantly inject food protein, allergen protein containing vaccines into people and sicken them with food allergies, asthma and autism as we see all around us now.

Arumugham V, Trushin M V. Autism pathogenesis: Piecing it all together, from end to beginning …. J Pharm Sci Res. 2018;10(11):2787

Our paper above, based on Richet’s discovery, that has been time-tested for a hundred years, is therefore bulletproof. So it comes as no surprise that top NIH/FDA immunologists failed to the challenge vaccine autism connection I posted below.

IMMUNI-L is a mailing list of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Immunology Interest Group.

“This list includes all those scientists at the NIH/FDA who are actively interested or involved in research in the field of Immunology.” That is more than 2000 of some of the top immunology experts in the world.

I posted a detailed description of the exact immunological mechanism by which vaccines induce autism.

This is the “science” behind our unsafe vaccines

Prof. Ioannidis of Stanford University School of Medicine wrote:
Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

Research waste is still a scandal—an essay by Paul Glasziou and Iain Chalmers

Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science

Peer review: a flawed process at the heart of science and journals

Quality and value: The true purpose of peer review

“… scientists understand that peer review per se provides only a minimal assurance of quality, and that the public conception of peer review as a stamp of authentication is far from the truth.”

What’s Wrong with Science—and How to Fix It

Ioannidis: Most Research Is Flawed; Let’s Fix It

Show trial against co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration Peter C. Gøtzsche leading to his expulsion from Cochrane.

Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it. -Niels Bohr

Anyone who is not shocked by vaccine safety problems has not understood it …

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